‘Zohar’s Nigun is violinist Daniel Weltlinger’s seminal musical project exploring the very essence of the complicated and fractured nature of identity in the 21st Century with all the emotional baggage that that encompasses..get ready for a wild ride!’
Jazz is a music that can blend in with just about any culture, any country or nation or any ancient people’s traditional music – a truly democratic multilingual art form. ‘Zohar’s Nigun’ (literally a song from the depths of one’s soul) is about the reality that is one’s family origins no matter where in the world one is based in the mad mass globalised existence that is the 21st Century..
Using the analogy of four Jewish musicians from multicultural Australia – a land populated for some 40-80,000 years or so by Indigenous peoples – the conceptual point of the band is that every single human being has a family heritage that they belong to that is unique and impossible to simply categorise, and that in many cases in today’s world is additionally from outside of the country that they are living or have been born in. No one can simply ‘choose’ where their parents are from, where they happen to have been born or what their skin colour or ethnicity is – it is an impossibility. It simply is and is beautiful and meant to be.
Devoid of the usual cultural clichés, four guys with Jewish heritage from Australia present four very different understandings of an ancient yet ever metamorphosing culture and ethnic heritage. Utilising an at times sharp sense of humour as well as a deep understanding of history and its endless repercussions, the music of Zohar’s Nigun offers an antidote to the endless prejudice and stereotyping from the many voices lacking reason and balance that seem to dominate the mass media and thus public perception. Shalom!
JOHN SHAND REVIEW JULY 7 2012:
“..Were Daniel Weltlinger’s violin any more fragile in Yerushalayim, it would break just from being listened to. This spell-binding performance opens an album from which Weltlinger has assembled other Australian musicians of Jewish heritage to investigate matters of identiy via a combination of original and traditional pieces.
His violin is joined by Daniel Pliner’s piano, Simon Milman’s bass and Alon llsar’s drums. All four have a keen instinct for extracting essences, rather than dealing in the surfaces of bravura playing. This is in keeping with the album’s theme of sharing the music in a spirit of peace and goodwill rather than cultural parochialism. Minimal notes and beauty of sound are the credo when their work is at it’s very finest.
Often the violin weeps on the shoulder of the other instruments, conjuring that singular emotion for which our language has no word, where sadness and beauty merge.
But that mood is not relentless. Hallel is played with a swagger and a wink, and Ma Nishtana with a sense of manic fun. The other inflection in the music is the lingua franca of improvisation , jazz, with Hinei Ma Tov U Ma Naim having thrilling interplay between piano, bass and drums. The original compositions, meanwhile, stand up amid the traditional. Milman’s Galaktaboureko spawns strong solos, and Pliner’s The Wanderer enchants with its evocation of lonely, peaceful endeavour..”